Watchmaking is a constant celebration of craftsmanship, of artisanal skills, and of superior design. To that end, the latest installment in our ‘versus series’ is celebratory match-up between two big – and polarizing – guns. Let’s take a deeper look at the investment value of Richard Mille as well as Franck Muller and see how we can compare the two.
Image Courtesy of Richard Mille
Two Legendary Brands
Both Richard Mille and Franck Muller watches are capable of inspiring a passionate response. Depending on which end of the love/hate spectrum that response falls is really down to your comfort with extravagance, and whether or not you adore or despise the use of revolutionary materials.
And to be honest, both of these brands are capable of producing horological heroes and horrors in equal measure. Picking through the morass of options, mad case contours, and crazy colors to find models that might actually appreciate in time is tricky, but I think it’s safe to say that the best chance of long term value retention comes with the pieces that could be considered icons of the brand.
It’s pretty rare that the most valuable piece of a brand’s collection finds itself to be a stylistic outlier. Far more common is a subtle variation on a tried and tested stalwart – a strange, or limited dial that adds a soupçon of distinction to the whole affair. Think of the Paul Newman Daytona as a perfect example of a classic subtly re-imagined at the perfect moment in time to capture the public’s imagination.
Image Courtesy Franck Muller
Fortunately for the Richard Mille and Franck Muller collector, this means the best pieces to invest in are actually the most affordable. You could argue that the diamond-encrusted pieces will fare better on the resale market due to the inherent value of the precious stones used to adorn their cases, but their retail prices are so stratospherically high that seems unlikely. The investment value of Richard Mille models should be looked at on a case by case basis. In the case of the Richard Mille RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur, well, this pieces requires enough diamonds to keep a small mine in business. Do all those tiny diamonds amount to a price tag of $1,090,000? I don’t think so.
For those readers not familiar with one or either brand, to understand their archetypal look, check out the Richard Mille RM-010 (top picture), which retails for around $85,000, and the Franck Muller Crazy Hours (second picture), which comes in at six grand.
The Investment Value of Richard Mille vs. Franck Muller, In Sum
Despite the wildly different entry price points, there are pieces from Muller that would require the access codes to a subterranean-alpine vault to purchase. The point here is this: Both brands boast an identifiable case silhouette, which is a powerful tool in the world of watchmaking. But the question of which is more unique comes down to components. For that reason I would, with limitless funds, go for a Richard Mille over a Franck Muller. However, if I were looking for a watch to wear with my tuxedo, the Crazy Hours would take the prize every time.
About the Author
Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.